Am I good in bed?
Don’t act like you don’t want to know. Everyone wants to know. It’s just like that desperate need to hear what people say about you the minute after you walk out of a room, or what your teacher said in all of those parent-teacher conferences. Except it’s worse, because this time, it involves your naked bits.
Nobody wants to be bad at sex. Depending on how important sex is to you, your sexual prowess is fairly closely tied to your self-esteem and confidence. And for the typical college student, it’s pretty much the most important thing in the world. Who cares if we have jobs or Social Security as long as we’re getting laid?
So if it’s so crucial, how can you tell if you’re doing it right? It seems like everyone has a different theory, from the ability to hold eye contact to clothing choices. I personally have decided, without any scientific evidence whatsoever, that Justin Timberlake is good in bed. This has nothing to do with his music — it’s just my own certainty, and it’s no more ridiculous than assuming a guy who talks quickly or stumbles over words sometimes has a problem making it to the starting line.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a multiple-choice test you can take to determine your bedroom skills. You can’t exactly hand your partner an evaluation form and ask them to fill it out before they leave in the morning. Short of asking them point-blank or IMing them a few days later with questions (hasn’t happened to me, but I’ve heard stories), you’re not going to get a summary. Even asking might not get you an honest answer — if people are willing to fake orgasms to protect their partner’s ego, why couldn’t they tell a little verbal white lie, too?
The basic problem even with the idea of being “good” at sex is that it’s not like being good at calculus or swimming. Unlike those admirable pursuits, sex isn’t an individual sport. Despite your best efforts, every time will not be the same, because every partner isn’t the same. You can have fantastic sex with one person and a mediocre experience with someone else, even if you’re doing the same things. The importance of chemistry can’t be discounted — you just work better with some people than others.
It’s true that experience is usually the best way to improve your sexual ability and knowledge. Like any other hobby, practice gets you just a little closer to perfect. But, like size, experience isn’t everything. Because when it comes to sex, the ability to make the other person scream your name in eight different languages isn’t just about specific techniques or movements.
What’s more important is your attitude toward the sex. If you start with the right mindset, you’re going to learn pretty quickly what works. You know how they say that the brain is the biggest erogenous zone? They ain’t kidding. Your brain’s going to help you improve in bed much more than ExtenZe ever will. So before you start worrying about memorizing the Kama Sutra, take a second and make sure you’re still thinking with the right head:
- Wake up! The simplest way to be bad in bed is not to pay attention to the other person. Yes, it seems obvious, but it’s pretty easy to forget in the moment, when you’ve got other things (or nothing) on your mind. Still, this is the easiest and most effective way to improve your sexytime. Watch your partner. See what they respond to. Let them tell you what they like — either aloud or non-verbally. Think of it this way: Being good at sex is kind of like being a detective, except this time you’re looking for reactions, not Carmen Sandiego.
- Be open to new things. Don’t assume that what works for one person is automatically guaranteed for someone else. Your last hookup might have been the lights-off-under-the-covers-missionary kind, but maybe your new partner would rather have you handcuff them to the fridge and put ice cubes in their clavicle. You don’t know, but finding out is really the fun part. An open mind is sexy; being predictable isn’t.
- Figure out your motives. Sometimes you just really need to blow off some steam. That’s fine, but you’re not going to astonish anyone if you go into their room with the mindset of “I just want to get laid.” If you don’t have any higher expectations than that, then you probably won’t be disappointed, but don’t expect anything amazing if you’re just doing it so you can brag to your friends tomorrow about what happened after you left the Deuce.
- Act like you’re interested. This. Should. Not. Be. Difficult. It really shouldn’t. You’re having sex, for god’s sake. This is especially important for girls to keep in mind; a huge complaint from guys is that sometimes the girl will just lie there like a tipsy little blow-up doll. This is not hot.
- Take initiative. This is a team activity, and it’s unfair to ask one person to do all the work. It is actually impossible to be decent at sex if you treat it like your own personal episode of My Super Sweet Sixteen. If you want to do something, do it. Get on top. Pull your partner into an abandoned classroom in Kresge (but not the one where I have class! I have to sit in those seats!). Tell them in astonishing detail what you’re going to do to them. There’s nothing to lose, guys. The worst case scenario is that you end up looking silly, and even if that happens, you’re still having sex. There’s really no bad way for this to end.
- Know what you like. Just because you’re paying close attention to your partner (We haven’t forgotten that one yet, right?) doesn’t mean you should forget about yourself. If you can tell your partner how to please you, you’ll be way more into the sex, which will (hopefully) make you want to figure out how to please them. Plus, they’ll feel better and more confident about their own abilities.
- Oh, and people? Stop taking yourselves so seriously. Sex is not serious. Sex is funny, and awkward, and sometimes clumsy. It’s great, but it is a pretty silly thing when you think about it. So do think about it. There’s nothing wrong with being able to laugh at the situation, as long as the other person doesn’t think you’re laughing at them or their inability to figure out the intricacies of how bras unhook. If you can’t giggle at yourself, you probably have bigger things to worry about than your bedroom skills. Like where you misplaced your sense of humor.